Dear Bad Guru | AspenTimes.com

Dear Bad Guru

Barry Smith
Irrelativity

Dear Bad Guru,

I’ve been thinking about ego a lot lately. Specifically about that Elton John song, “Ego.” And even more specifically the part where he sings, “I’m not in it for the bread, I’m in it for the gravy.” That’s kinda heavy, right? What does that mean?

Signed,

Taupin, Terra Haute

Dear Taupin,

Hey, I remember you. Aren’t you the same person who recently had me totally pick apart Elton John’s “Tiny Dancer” from a spiritual perspective? That was fun.

First of all, it’s important to know that there was a time when the word “bread” was interchangeable with “money.” You also need to know that “gravy” has no other meanings. I believe what John is saying is that, from an egocentric standpoint, one would not pursue a goal for any sort of basic sustenance or life-giving quality (bread), but instead simply for the meaningless excess to be gained (gravy). This sort of behavior is, as he goes on to point out, “childish, foolish, before schoolish, immaturish, lose your coolish.” At first this seems important, before you realize that it’s just a collection of slightly rhyming words with “ish” added to them.

It’s tough to find meaning everywhere, but perhaps tougher to find meaning nowhere.

Dear Bad Guru,

I am so sick of myself! How can I change? Like, really change?

Signed,

Vacillating, Venice

Dear Vac,

Change is inevitable. It’s also elusive and difficult. It’s also terrifying. It’s also liberating. It’s a big one, for sure.

Change comes slowly, in a two baby steps forward one giant step back sort of way. Of course it also can come immediately, as with some sort of life trauma. Or it doesn’t come at all, despite its inevitability. Change is one seriously messed up paradoxical concept. Best to avoid it, if possible. Just go on doing what you’ve always been doing and hope for the best. It’s all going to work out eventually. Kind of like in that Billy Joel song, “Uptown Girl.”

Dear Bad Guru,

Do I have a destiny to fulfill? Or am I just here jacking around?

Signed,

Dharma, Dakotas

Dear Dharma,

This is a classically wonderful question. However, I prefer to not use the word “destiny.” Even though it’s technically and spiritually accurate in this instance, it just reminds me too much of Destiny’s Child, which is just not my kind of music, at all. Unfortunately, I can’t think of a word that would serve as a fitting substitute, so I don’t really know how to address your question. Good luck.

Dear Bad Guru,

How can I, as Guns ’N Roses once suggested, use my illusion?

Signed,

Barney, Bakersfield

Dear Barney,

Illusion, shockingly enough, is not at all what it seems. We are all living some degree of our own personal illusion, and until we’re able to understand this, we will be forever trapped in an existence that is not grounded in reality.

Alas, choosing illusion over reality is often an enticing prospect. Illusion, is, after all, pretty awesome. Especially if it’s one of those really good ones. Reality can be somewhat cold and uncomfortable and all the good restaurants are closed by the time you get there.

Illusion is “Paradise City,” reality is “Allentown.”

So, how can you “use” your illusion? Not sure you can. Better to just savor it while it lasts.

Dear Bad Guru,

Does the same go for “using my illusion, II?”

Signed,

Barney, Bakersfield

Dear Barney,

Yes. But only about half as much.

Dear Bad Guru,

You know that one song — the one where the girl (or guy with a really high voice, hard to tell) is singing about love or something? Well, I think about that song all the time. I really can’t get it out of my head on some days. It’s not a bad feeling, having that song in my head all day, so I haven’t tried to make it go away yet. I guess I like that song well enough that if it never went away that would be OK with me. Now that I think about it, having it go away would be bad. I like it so much, that song! I can’t understand all the words, but I understand how it makes me feel. It makes me feel great! So, anyway, I guess I answered my own question. Thanks!

Signed,

Peaceful, Plainview

Barry Smith’s column appears Mondays. More at http://www.barrysmith.com.


Start a dialogue, stay on topic and be civil.
If you don't follow the rules, your comment may be deleted.